Hounds who have squeezed into Boqueria, the hot Spanish spot in Chelsea, report inventive, flavorful tapas and other Catalan-inspired bites. “Terrific! It was almost like each dish was competing to outdo the previous one,” raves RCC, who was knocked out by crispy roast pork, salt cod fritters, fried quail egg and chorizo on toast, and a stellar special of chopped razor clams on the shell.
Also recommended: potato-onion tortilla, blistered Padron peppers, skewered grilled lamb marinated in lemon and cumin, and bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almond and Cabrales. It’s not all tapas, pinxtos, and other nibbles; the menu also offers larger plates like roast lamb shoulder, braised chicken with mushrooms, and New York strip steak.
Detractors complain of meager portions, close quarters, and a deafening din. “Intolerably loud, and the food isn’t that good. Tia Pol is many times better,” grouses gutsofsteel. “This place is very noisy,” acknowledges RCC, “noisier than the Barcelona marketplace it is named after. Tight, crowded, and extremely busy. A potential turn-off–unless you’re into very good Spanish food and a decent selection of Spanish wines.”